Podcast coming soon!!

Well we are back from Orlando and have decided to start our own podcast. Orlando was awesome, Rolo finished his CM2 and won a group first as well as a group 3rd. Rolo is now mostly retired from the AKC rings, he will probably come back out for Orlando 2019 and that’s it.

To those that know us, know that we love podcasts. We listened to My Favorite Murder on our drive to Orlando and back from Orlando. I am a member of their fan cult and listen to podcasts daily at work. So while listening to This Podcast Will Kill You, I came up with the idea for a podcast called “About a Dog”, it will be a weekly podcast that features every single dog breed. The breed features will be down to earth, share real stories on how each breed impacts people, why each breed should be preserved, where to go to get information about the particular breed, and a scale of our own making called “would you own one?” We want this podcast to be fun and informative, while highlighting breeds, that in many cases are critically endangered, and letting the general public learn.

This blog will be the official host for the podcast and so episodes will be popping up here on a weekly basis.

Not Funny At All!

So yesterday I returned home from my first day at a new job to see something hanging on my door from my local animal control. I immediately called them, back and wondered what it was about, thinking that it maybe had to do with a “stray”  rooster that was wandering around for months, annoying the snot out of people and started chasing me. Then I caught him and he was adopted out to a loving home and was featured on a local newscaster’s Facebook page. It went viral locally and many people associated with me knew that it was the rooster that we jokingly called “Invader Zim”. 

My local animal control returned my call last night and said the thing that every breeder or show person dreads, a complaint was made regarding my dogs, specifically stating that they were noisy and malnourished. I was shocked and flabbergasted. I told the animal control officer to come by the next day that worked with my work schedule. I was terrified because I’ve heard of horror stories of rogue animal control officers seizing breeders’ dogs because then it would be a huge news story and the shelter would be flooded with donation money. So I had a massive panic attack and disassociated for several hours last night. Thankfully I had gotten everything in order from paperwork, making sure that everybody was clean, and had nails done. I also made a public Facebook post about it so that whoever did this is aware that I do have an attorney and will pursue a civil case if this becomes a problem.  

The day arrived of the inspection and it just so happened that I got in a car accident on my way to work so my stress levels were through the roof. Somehow my fiancé and I managed to get everything sorted and taken care of. The animal control officer arrived, I showed him the dogs’ vaccination records, rabies certificates, my multi-dog license, and my credentials with the AKC regarding breeder of record of dogs and main point of contact for the Hamiltonstovare Club of America. My fiancé started bringing each dog out one at a time, we gave the officer their name, breed, age, spay/neuter status, and any titles or accolades earned. While each dog was brought out we detailed the feeding regime and how much care we place on appropriate nutrition. Needless to say, the officer found no violations at all and was incredibly impressed with each dog’s temperament, condition, and muscle tone. He also remarked how well the 4 dogs over 7 years old look because only Kemper, the 12 year old rat terrier mix, is graying.  

He deemed the report that was made a false report and the person who made the report could be charged for making a false report. He also said that if it becomes a repeated issue then I could subpoena the information and pursue a civil case. So let me be extremely clear, making a false statement to scare people or bully people is not funny nor is it a joke. IT IS A CRIME! So hopefully this never happens again but let it be known that my dogs are well cared for, loved, cherished, eat better than I do, and are fitter than I am. Whoever did this, please note I have an attorney, I have a security camera that is motion activated, and the local authorities are aware, so don’t do it again! 

Bittersweet

The past week has been strange to say the very least. The Oceania Hamiltonstovare gang attended the First Colony Cluster of AKC Open Shows in Richmond,  Va where Rolo won his first Best in Show and earned his AKC CM title. He is the first Hamiltonstovare to earn this title. The AKC CM title is one of the most difficult titles to earn for a Foundation Stock Service breed in the AKC. Dogs have to earn 15 points by defeating others in their breed or by earning a Group 1st or Best in Show. For some FSS breeds, it can take years and thousands of dollars to earn this title. However, this title is critical in the advancing of the breed through the steps to become fully AKC recognized. 

If all that happened this past week was Rolo winning big, then I would be on cloud 9 and probably not hopping off of that cloud for quite some time. That was not to be. Unfortunately, on the last day of showing, Alice started showing signs of a possible miscarriage of her litter. She was lethargic, not eating and bleeding. We rushed her to our local emergency vet, VRCC, and I really was not impressed with how Alice was being treated. So I made arrangements to take Alice to Lakeside Animal Hospital the next morning. At our appointment, it was discovered that Alice had open pyometra. It is a uterine infection that is draining. In many cases, a young dog can be treated conservatively and they are able to be bred. In Alice's case, she is at the end of her breeding career already so conservative treatment was not advised. Alice was admitted that day and was spayed the next day. So I spent my time worrying about her. I also knew from the ultrasound that the infection made her fetuses stop developing. The litter is not happening and to my puppy homes, I am so sorry. 

Alice is now back home and recovering. She is slowly getting back to normal and the realization that her show career is over has hit. She will be shown in UKC altered and in veteran classes. Unfortunately, she will never earn the AKC CM title as she was 1 point shy and spayed/neutered dogs aren't allowed to compete for the AKC CM title. 

To those on my waiting list, I will be sending an email out with additional information soon.

Thank you so much to Dr. Gonzalez and the entire staff at Lakeside Animal Hospital. They saved Alice's life and set me at ease regarding her care. She was treated like family and I am forever grateful. Thank you to those that helped us at the shows , thank you to the judges that awarded my boy his amazing wins, and thank you to the clubs for hosting these AKC Open Shows.  

Updates - Fast CAT, Chickens, Puppies, oh my!!

Raven and Selene took part in their first Fast CAT trial in Mechanicsville, Va. Selene was dramatically faster than Raven. Fast CAT is an AKC event open to all registered dogs be it purebred or mixed breeds. It is a test of speed and prey drive. We like to use lure coursing and Fast CAT as a good gauge of prey drive for retaining instincts within the breed and I am glad that Raven and Selene did me proud. They are both well on their way to their first Fast CAT titles. 

Oceania has somewhat expanded to chickens. Currently we have 2 Light Brahma chicks and will hopefully have some nice bug control and fresh eggs for the dogs to enjoy within the next few months. Depending on the genders of the chicks, we may be partnering with a local farm to obtain some Swedish Flower Hens as well. To those that enjoyed our puppycam years ago, it is back and open to the public as a chick cam. 

If you are interested in seeing the chicks mess around in their pen in the Muck Room, please check them out here: Oceania Brahmas

Yes, you saw the post right, we are in full puppy planning mode. I am usually against repeat breedings but we have decided to breed Alice and Rolo again. After this breeding, Alice will be spayed with an Ovary Sparing Spay procedure. We are not planning on keeping any of the puppies from this litter, we are doing this just to boost the US breed population. We have puppies available for this litter and would love more Show, Performance, Service Dog and Therapy Dog homes for this litter. If interested, please contact us, also please be mindful to use a valid email address so that we can respond in a timely manner. 

As always, in order to be considered for a puppy, please complete a puppy application when I send it. 

We have also decided a stud for Raven's first breeding and just announced it. It is a young Norwegian dog that will be a complete outcross and add vital new bloodlines to the gene pool in the US. If you are interested in this breeding, please let me know when you submit a contact form, indicate a preference for either the Alice breeding or the Raven breeding. Show, Performance, Service Dog and Therapy Dog homes are always welcome and please indicate that in the contact form. 

 

No Hamiltonstovare at Westminster

Hamiltonstovare aren’t eligible to compete at Westminster, plain and simple. The reasons why are a bit more complex. The main reason is that Hamiltonstovare aren’t fully recognized by the American Kennel Club. The road to full recognition is a numbers game, the first stage is Foundation Stock Service which is where the Hamiltonstovare are. After there are over 150 Hamiltonstovare registered with the Foundation Stock Service then the Hamiltonstovare Club of America can petition to the AKC to progress to the Miscellaneous class. After over 450 Hamiltonstovare are registered with the Foundation Stock Service and the Hamiltonstovare Club of America writes an approved breed standard in the AKC format, then the Hamiltonstovare Club of America can petition to move to fully recognized. So if you own a Hamiltonstovare, please register it with the AKC as each and every dog even in other countries helps.  

Now the Westminster Kennel Club could host an AKC Open Show which would allow all FSS and Miscellaneous breeds to compete. I have requested this multiple times as it would be an instant boost to all rare breeds struggling for full AKC recognition. The Westminster Kennel Club never responded to my multiple requests, ever. The Westminster Kennel Club does host Meet the Breeds where Hamiltonstovare can participate but logistically, it is incredibly difficult to attend for just one day and not get even a chance to compete and it is very discouraging to the general public who ask over and over at the booth to see the breed compete and we have to constantly say that we can’t.  

Hamiltonstovare are eligible to compete in the agility competition and as of 2018, the Junior Showmanship competition. Hopefully FSS breeds will be able to compete and hopefully the breed will advance because it is my goal to compete on the green carpet with a Hamiltonstovare.  

What a day

Yesterday, we decided to go to the K9 Konnection UKC dog show in Beltsville, Md thinking that it could be a chance that Rolo could finish his UKC Grand Championship. Never in a million years did I ever think that this would happen. 

Rolo finished his UKC Grand Championship in fine style by going back to back Reserve Best in Show! He also broke Alice’s RBIS record yesterday too. To say that we are proud is an understatement. Rolo made breed history by becoming the first ever Hamiltonstovare UKC Grand Champion. 

I wish to thank every single judge that gave him these amazing wins. Rolo is not an easy dog to handle and we have worked very hard to get him to where he is. Rolo is exclusively handled by me so this win is extra special. Also considering his past and the amount of work that we’ve done is incredible. I’m still in shock and can’t believe it.    

 

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I love this goofy boy beyond words and I’m thrilled that we have had this amazing journey together. 

Orlando Whirlwind

Well we are back from Orlando and have had time to reflect on everything that happened. First, a big thanks to all of the breed clubs that hosted Open Shows and made them the largest Open Shows ever! Second, a huge thanks to the NADD and the AKC for putting on a great national championship.  

Time for the results: 

December 13 - Biewer Terrier Club of America Open Show - Rolo best of breed and Group 4th, Raven best of opposite

December 14 - KCUSA Open Show - Alice best of breed, Rolo best of opposite

December 15 - Barbet Club of America - Rolo best of breed, Alice best of opposite

 

I am thrilled with how my guys showed and the results. There was only one day where I felt that the judge didn’t seem to understand the breed, unfortunately that is how this works sometimes. I was delighted to take part in an interview with National Purebred Dog Day and Pure Dog Talk on Friday. Please feel free to check it out on the Oceania Hamiltonstovare Facebook page.  

Selene competed for the first time at the NADD Dock Diving Nationals and I was thrilled that she jumped at all considering the crowd. She was not competitive but she did do a respectable 8’8” jump. The Hamiltonstovare Club of America was represented at the Meet the Breeds event and we won a Group 4th in the booth decorating contest.  

This event was a blast and I was thrilled to see so many people interested in the breed. It was also awesome to get to hang out with Griffin (Oceania Brave at Heart CGCA) and his owner.  

A huge thanks to anybody that helped with the booth decorating. Also a huge thanks to those that looked after the house and other animals while we were gone.  

We will return next year for sure, hopefully with some new AKC titles.  

Updates and more updates

I know that it has been a while since I have posted any updates but here are some. First, Selene has earned TWO dock diving titles and will be competing at the AKC NADD Nationals in the Open Junior class in Orlando, Fl on December 16th. Getting her qualified for nationals and earning her dock diving titles have been a huge priority for us over the summer and we are thrilled at how well she has done and she even has a personal best of 12' 6". 

Second is that there will not be a litter until 2018 at the absolute earliest. While we were in the midst of planning and arranging a 2017 breeding, we had some house emergencies take place that meant that all of the funds that we had planned for the breeding were allocated to making sure that our home was safe and comfortable. Not to worry though, everybody is fine and we had our A/C break in the middle of August and a massive water leak in our attic and ceiling. We had a few extremely hot nights and a LOT of disappointment from contractors in the area that caused the water leak. Thankfully, the great people at Woodfin repaired the A/C unit successfully and efficiently and we've been comfy ever since. Of course as timing couldn't be worse as all three intact girls came in season within a week of each other while our A/C was out, so breeding Alice was not in the cards when you have to suddenly spend over a thousand dollars to fix your home. 

Third, we will not be competing in any UKC shows this year because we are focusing exclusively on AKC and earning as many CM points as possible before the end of the year. This is in no way a reflection on the clubs in the area but just a simple issue of logistics and timing. Next year we will be focusing on earning UKC Grand Champion titles and Rolo's UWPCH. 

Fourth, we hope to see lots of people in Orlando, Fl from December 13-17. The Oceania gang is heading to the AKC National Championships for the first time. We will be competing in the 3 Open Shows, Dock Diving nationals and the AKC Meet the Breeds event. Oceania Brave at Heart CGCA will also make his AKC show debut there. 

Finally, to those that have submitted puppy inquiries, I appreciate your understanding in the fact that we are incredibly busy trying to wrap up the year. We are considering breeding Raven next year and/or Alice and until those details are solidified we are relying on patience and understanding of those interested in a Oceania Hamiltonstovare. Also, please come to me with solid research because I have refused to respond to a few inquiries due to incorrect information, lack of information, and irresponsible statements. I also feel that I need to clarify some things because I have received a few incorrect things in puppy inquiries about this, yes Hamiltonstovare do shed! Hamiltonstovare generally shed less than most dogs and are classified as seasonal shedders but they shed way more leading up to summer than they due leading up to winter. During the spring shedding season, I bushed enough coat out of Raven to knit a sweater. So I don't want people to think this breed doesn't shed, because they do.  

Healthy Weight and Condition for Hamiltonstovare

Hamiltonstovare should always give the impression of the ability to have great endurance and stamina. They should be well muscled and never over or underweight. Obesity is just as harmful, if not more so, in dogs than a dog being underweight. 

Obesity is linked as a clear environmental cause for hip dysplasia, especially for dogs under the age of 2. I make an effort to keep my young puppies thin for that very reason. The more weight a dog caries while it is developing, the more strain is put on those developing bones, joints and muscles. 

A Hamiltonstovare that is working in the field can easily burn a lot of calories so they can look skinny from time to time, but that is only acceptable during hunting season and the hip bones should never be visible. Hamiltonstovare have a thick layer of skin over their muscles so ribs may not be visible on a thinner dog. 

A Hamiltonstovare in correct weight should have visible front and rear muscles, they should also have a visible tuck on their underside. They should not have an extreme tuck like a sighthound, but it should be there but more moderate. 

Above are two of my Hamiltonstovare (Raven and Rolo) who are at extremely healthy weights for the breed. I keep on mentioning muscle tone with this discussion of weight because it is critically important for all dogs regardless of breed. A dog can still be at a healthy weight but in poor physical condition. There are some dogs being shown now that are at healthy weight but severely lacking in muscle tone. 

Conditioning is the act of making sure that dogs are as physically fit as possible. We utilize several things to obtain physical condition with our dogs. The main ones are free running, fetch games, and balance discs. Free running and fetch games are easily to duplicate in a yard and generally takes about 45 minutes or more a day. 

Balance discs are a training tool that have gained popularity over the years and we've been using them for about 3 years. We first started using them with Rolo to build his core condition and saw dramatic results. The puppies started balance discs from the time they were able to walk. We use FitPaws equipment exclusively and primarily use the FitPaws bone, 24" balance disc and the PawPods. My dogs are trained to "step" on their own to step up on the discs and allow themselves to be manipulated as needed. 

Keep your dogs fit and be creative with the thing you use to keep them fit. 

DNA Testing

Currently Embark Veterinary Laboratory is looking for participants in a Hamiltonstovare DNA research study. The cannot be closely related (sire, dam, littermates, offspring) of Alice or Rolo. This is the first US based DNA study on Hamiltonstovare. They are offering FREE DNA studies to participants in this research project and that includes all of their health studies. This is basically like doing a 23andMe study for your dog. This offer is only open to US residents at this time but it is open to rescues. 

DNA is a wonderful tool that can be used for so many things and the ability to participate in any study is a privilege. Currently all of the dogs at Oceania are taking part in the Darwin's Dogs DNA study with UMASS on trying to link behavior and DNA. The Darwin's Dogs project is a long-term project and they are always looking for new participants.

Breeders over the past decade or so have started to utilize DNA as a tool to improve health. Currently the best candidates for those tests are genes that are the simplest form of DNA and operate on the basic principles of genetics. The ideal tests that have been done are PLL (Primary Lens Luxation, which is a common disease in many terriers), DM (Degenerative myelopathy, which has been described as ALS but in dogs, it can be found in any breed), Von Willebrands (a blood disease that is found in many breeds), and many others. 

Hamiltonstovare as a rule are a very healthy breed and many of the DNA tests are not applicable to the breed at all. We did a test for DM for Raven as a peace of mind because Alice's dam suffered from an unknown paralysis not long after Alice was born, but recovered. Raven thankfully is completely normal and I am sending her information off to the OFA this week. 

I expect the results for Alice and Rolo with Embark by the end of May, once I know then I will blog about it. 

Please note that some things cannot be tested using a simple DNA swab. Hip displaysia, elbow displaysia, some eye conditions, heart conditions, and thyroid conditions must be evaluated by a vet, as those diseases can have genetic AND environmental causes. 

For more information about Darwin's Dogs, please visit their website.

If you wish to participate in the Embark Hamiltonstovare DNA study, please email me.

Puppy Applications

I know that I have been extremely slow to respond to my messages but life has been nuts and I went back to school for 6 months to earn a certification for my career (breeding Hamiltonstovare is NOT my career, I work a regular job too), for that I apologize. So I had to put my inquiries to the side for a while. Thankfully, I am finished with school and earned my certification. 

I am completely caught up on my puppy inquiries from the form on this page. As a rule, I require ALL prospective puppy buyers to complete a puppy application before I continue any and all correspondence. This is for both my security and your security. Basically it proves to me that you have been a responsible pet owner/dog owner in the past and that you have done a bit of research on Hamiltonstovare as a breed. 

I understand that it may take some time to complete my application but generally after 2 weeks, I start to think that you aren't interested in being put on my waiting list. Everybody, no matter who you are, goes on my waiting list. If you want a Hamiltonstovare sooner, import from Sweden. Timing has to be perfect for myself to breed a litter as it takes a lot of time and money to raise a litter, and I breed for the betterment of the breed and not because people want my dogs. 

My application is similar to every responsible breeder and every responsible rescue/shelter. It is not optional. If you have concerns about any portion of my applications, please express it in the application. Feel free to ask questions. My best applications are the ones that show time and effort. I need to know things like animal ownership history, as this breed requires a responsible and vigilant owner that will take the time to set rules and boundaries. I also want to know if you have interest in dog sports because those that have any experience in dog sports and dog shows generally will get bumped up on my waiting list. I want owners that will be breed ambassadors as well as make sure they have cherished pets. 

So please complete the application that I send you. If you didn't get an application from me then please complete your form again. 

Register your dogs!!!!!

I know that it has been a while since I have done a blog but things have been busy. I am going to answer my puppy inquiries by the end of the year. 

However, it is that time of the year when I plead to other Hamiltonstovare owners around the world to AKC FSS register your dogs!!! In order for the breed to become fully recognized by the AKC, they need to show that the breed is stable in the eyes of the AKC. The only way to do that is to AKC FSS register your dogs. It takes 10 minutes or less to do, fill out the application (I will post a link at the bottom), attach a copy of a 3 generation pedigree either from the HCA or from the national registering body of their choice, a photo of the dog standing at the side and a photo of the dog from the front. For rescues it is easier, fill out the AKC FSS application, submit the photos and attach your HCA approved rescue letter (if you need one then contact me). 

AKC FSS Registration Application 

Example of a front photo

Example of a front photo

Example of a side photo

Example of a side photo

Updates, what a whirlwind

I haven't blogged in a while simply because I've been incredibly busy, so to those who have sent me puppy inquiries, you are not forgotten and I will send you applications shortly. 

First, I'd like to thank the judges and the UKC for an amazing first UKC Premier. To say that Premier exceeded my expectations was an understatement. It was such a busy time that nearly two months later, I am just now getting back to normal. If you haven't noticed on Rolo's page, there is a huge update for him. Rolo made breed history by winning Total Dog Reserve Best in Show at UKC Premier. He also earned a regular group placement. Due to Rolo's success at Premier, I fielded a few interviews and I am finishing up on an article to be published later. 

I am going to post the interview that has come out recently in the Umgas Swedish-American Culture magazine. Please visit their article for photos and the full content of their amazing magazine. 

OUR REVIEW OF HAMILTON…THE DOG BREED

We introduced the Hamiltonstövare as part of our roundup of Swedish dog breeds. Who knew the breed has a club right here in the United States?

We jumped at the chance to catch up with Ashley Hammock, founder and president of the Hamiltonstövare Club of America.

Tell us about the history of the Hamiltonstövare breed.
Hamiltonstövare were developed in Sweden by Count Adolf Patrick Hamilton, who wanted to develop a hound that was sturdy enough to withstand the climate and environment in Sweden and have instincts to hunt hare or fox all day. They also have been developed to work closely with their owner and are expected to adapt easily to house life when not hunting.

Where did your passion for Hamiltons come from?
I’ve been involved in dog shows since I was 12 years old and started showing beagles, but I have always liked big dogs. When I started college at Old Dominion University, I saw a gorgeous dog on the Animal Planet TV show “Crufts.” The moment I saw that dog, I knew I had to find out anything and everything about the breed. The more and more I learned about the breed, the more I knew that they were perfect for me. In 2010, I got my first Hamiltonstövare from the UK and never looked back.

Now, I am happy to say that my male Hamiltonstövare is a direct ancestor to the very first Hamiltonstövare I saw on TV.

You have 4 Hamiltons yourself! That’s quite the crew.
My first Hamiltonstövare is Alice. My second is Rolo. Their daughters’ names are Raven and Selene. Rolo is also my active service dog, and his daughter Raven is in training to be a service dog when Rolo retires. Rolo acts as my balance aid, helps alert me to stressful situations and alerts me to impending panic attacks.

Rolo won one of the most elite dog show awards that the breed can win in America at the UKC Premier Dog Show in Kalamazoo, Mich. What was the award, and how did you prepare him for the show?
Rolo won Total Dog Reserve Best in Show at the 2016 UKC Premier Dog Show, it is the first time that a Hamiltonstövare has ever won that award. I am still shocked that he did so well.

His performance event is weight pull and he pulled just over 10 times his body weight (796 pounds!). Rolo is a competitive show dog so his preparation for this show was like any other, good food, a nice bath, some grooming and exercise. He started showing at an early age so we reinforce showing with training to refine his skills.

Weight pull is a different thing as a dog must be extremely physically fit and confident to have the desire to pull the cart. I never force him to pull if he doesn’t want to. I didn’t have to train him much for weight pull, but he does have a cart at home and he will help pull garden supplies from time to time. He loves to weight pull and is actually a better show dog when he does weight pull.

You established the first American Hamiltonstövare club. Why does America need that? And what is the club’s purpose?
The Hamiltonstövare Club of America was established to be the national parent club to advance the breed in America. In order for the breed to be fully recognized by the American Kennel Club, there needs to be a national parent club that helps to guide the breed further. The club has many purposes, but primarily it is to support the advancement of the Hamiltonstövare breed in America, preserve its natural hunting instincts, ensure the breed’s continued health and help any Hamiltonstövare that may need rescue.

Why is it important to keep Hamiltons’ instincts preserved? How do you accomplish that?
Since the late 1800s, Hamiltonstövare have been bred to be working hounds, and in Sweden primarily, they are still used to hunt hare. I feel that it is critically important that Hamiltons should retain their instincts because those instincts are so ingrained in them that it gives them purpose. From a young age, I introduce puppies to rabbit pelts. As they get older, they chase and track rabbit pelts in my fenced-in yard. When they are adults I take them on a tracking-style line where they can safely track rabbits.

We never scold them if they happen to encounter a rabbit or fox while in the yard. We also participate in lure coursing events and have started training for barn hunting competitions to make sure that the hunting instinct is very strong. Unfortunately, hunting in the same style as in Sweden is next to impossible to do in America safely. We are working with a few people in Sweden to establish hunting instinct tests and/or trials as the breed advances in America.

What are some the pros and cons of the Hamilton breed?
Hamiltonstövare are a typical hound in many aspects for the con side of things – they can be stubborn, sneaky and have high energy at times. However, they are relatively quiet compared to other scent hounds like Beagles and Coonhounds. Hamiltonstövare are low-shedding, rarely drool, rarely smell, can live to 14-plus years old on average, extremely healthy, versatile, incredible with kids no matter the age, they are amazingly perceptive to their people and bond very closely to their people, and are ready to do just about anything that you want them to do. They are highly intelligent, but that can be a pro and a con because you have to keep their brain active because a bored Hamilton is a destructive Hamilton. They pick up on training very easily and are known to be incredibly easy to housebreak.

Most Hamiltonstövare are completely unfazed by everything – storms, earthquakes, fireworks, power outages, etc. They are very sensitive to the heat and cannot be kept outside during the summer for very long without having something to cool them off in, but Hamiltonstövare love the cold and snow; they come alive around snow.

If someone is interested in purchasing a Hamilton, where should they go for more information?
Obtaining a Hamiltonstövare within America is very difficult, and I am currently the only one breeding Hamiltonstövare in America at this time. However, if someone is interested in importing or being placed on a waiting list they can go to our website, where they can email a member of the club. The website is also a great resource for breed information, recommended health testing information and links to our Facebook group.

The Many Sounds of a Hamiltonstovare

If you are looking for a quiet breed then turn around and run the opposite direction as fast as possible. Hamiltonstovare have been bred for over 100 years to be a vocal breed that uses their exceptional voice to inform the hunter of where they are and by association the hare.

Like any other scent hound, the voice of each individual is as unique as a human fingerprint. I can tell each one of my hounds apart just by their voice alone. Selene has a very jovial voice, Alice's is crisp and clear, Raven's is sweet and pleading, and Rolo's is loud and with loads of self-confidence.

Hamiltonstovare have more than one bark. They have a proverbial vocabulary of noises and sounds that all have very different meanings. They have a breed type defining bark that they use when hunting that is very atypical to what most people think of when they think of scent hounds. The hunting bark is more like a scream than anything but it should be filled with excitement and purpose. The “hunting scream” as I like to call it is designed to be heard over miles. The reason that this breed is generally not advised for apartments is partly because of their voice and just how loud that particular bark truly is.

The other barks sound more like a variations of “Roo.” Some Hamiltonstovare can make excellent watch dogs and will alert to new people around them. My Alice will let me and everybody that she can know if anybody comes remotely near my driveway and her bark is very confrontational and sounds like a warning to anybody that wishes to do anything. Rolo, Raven and Selene couldn't care less if a new person showed up and would either glomp them or kiss them silly.

As further evidence regarding how closely Hamiltonstovare bond with their people, they will have conversations with their people. They know when you are talking to them and will answer accordingly. One time, I left Alice alone for a while and came home and it sound like she said “where were you?” Hamiltonstovare also do this rumble that some might mistake for a growl but it truly is a noise of complete happiness. They will grunt and rumble while their entire body wags and wiggles in total delight. Hamiltonstovare will make random grunts from time to time, those can be very comical from time to time. Alice also earned the nickname of “Cow puppy” because at times it sounds like she is mooing. The one thing that is almost identical is their whine, all four of my Hamiltonstovare make the exact same whine and it can be annoying at times, so we do anything to prevent that from happening.

Rolo's voice is very diverse in a rather interesting way, he can make a full range of vocalizations from bark, grunt, rumble, growl, roo, howl and hunting scream. When either Michael or myself comes home from work, Rolo howls that resembles a car alarm. He tosses his head back and just goes to town but he only does that when somebody comes home.

Living with at least one Hamiltonstovare means that you learn to deal with purposeful noise. The sounds that come with a Hamiltonstovare are part of what make them great. Every Hamiltonstovare owner has stories of their dog's sounds in some way, shape or form. As that voice is so vital to them, debarking is not advised ever for this breed. The breed have highly developed vocal chords that tend to vary from the average dog, so the procedure can be risky and even lethal. It is a part of my contract that debarking is a banned procedure in my contract and is grounds for me to obtain the dog on grounds of abuse. Enjoy their voice, embrace it, laugh at it and most of all; love it.  

It is your choice

Recently, the animal rights movement has gained momentum in placing guilt over how people obtain their next pet. Obtaining a pet should be a choice made on research and determining what is best for you. Most dogs and cats will be expected to live at least a decade and require veterinary care to keep them in happy and healthy. Purchasing a pet should never be done in an impulse buy.

Currently there is a smear campaign saying “Adopt don't shop” sure it is catchy but the real phrase should be “Adopting is still shopping.” The phrase is supposed to place guilt on buying an animal from a breeder. However, that campaign is doing absolutely nothing to educate the public regarding responsible pet ownership and thrives on impulse buys which will require people to make choices that they are not able to follow through on once their animal is home. The phrase originally was a way to tell people to avoid purchasing animals at pet shops and therefore supporting puppy mills and commercial breeding operations.

Would it surprise anybody that is it is becoming rarer and rarer to find purebred puppies from commercial breeders in pet stores? Instead it is commonplace to find dogs and cats from privately owned rescues available for immediate purchase at every single big box pet supply store such as Petsmart and Petco. Is it better to buy a dog as an impulse buy from a private rescue that has absolutely no government inspection requirements in some places as they have been purposely exempted from basic animal care laws? I say that it isn't, those animals are no healthier or better than puppies sold at a flea market. It is actually better to buy a dog from a commercial breeder because those breeders and brokers have to follow federal laws, inspections and even must follow state lemon laws. Buying a dog from a private rescue means that you could be fueling illegal dog trafficking and importing across state lines and even into the country. Private rescues in many cases are 501(c)3 non-profit organizations but all that means is that they must not show a profit so they can make a LOT of money on animal sales as long as they do not have an operating profit for 3 out of 5 years then they are fine. Private animal rescues can even pay their staff salaries that in some cases are six figures a year.

If a person buys a sick dog from a rescue where the rescue knew that the dog was sick puts 100% of the responsibility on the new owner. If a person buys a sick dog from any breeder where the dog was already sick, in many cases 100% of the responsibility is on the breeder. Buying from a breeder means that the new owner is protected from adopting a dog with communicable diseases, buying from a rescue means that the rescue can sell dogs for hundreds of dollars with absolutely no oversight at all. Also, some rescues will follow this model, adopt out a dog as fast as possible, hope for it to be returned as often as possible and continue to collect multiple adoption fees for the same animal. So some rescues can easily make thousands on just 10 dogs or less.

Rescues can and will import dogs from various locations to tug at the heartstrings of the general public. In actuality, these rescues may be stealing dogs that have owners and profiting on dog theft. Rescues hope and pray for natural disasters so that they can benefit on people not being able to have the resources to find their animals if they are lost. Recently, some Golden Retrievers have been imported from Turkey at a staggering rate but a watch group found out that the majority of those dogs imported were actually stolen dogs or dogs reported missing. Another case is the case of Piper the champion sheltie that a rescue held hostage for a year while the legal owner fought to get their dog back after the rescue illegally and knowingly stole the dog.

A new report done by the NAIA showed that 85%+ of all dogs in America have been spayed or neutered. That fact alone means that we are at an all time low for dogs being euthanized. The more disturbing side of that fact means that there are less than 15% to maintain the growing demand that Americans have for puppies. We are looking at a massive dog shortage in the next 5 to 10 years, many urban locations are already seeing that shortage. With this shortage means that rescues are becoming more desperate to find dogs to adopt, some rescues are even using dogs that come from commercial breeders to adopt out, they are patrolling lower income neighborhoods and liberating or harassing people who have different views on animal care to get new dogs to adopt, they are even trying to contract with substandard people/breeders to breed puppies to adopt. Many rescues are exempt from lemon laws so they just want dogs to adopt as fast as possible. Rescues are getting in more and more trouble for adopting out animals with behavioral issues where they will bite, attack and sometimes kill their new owners. Rescues need the same oversight as breeders.

Buying from a responsible breeder means that you are getting a valuable source of expert advice, a healthy puppy, and the comfort in knowing how your puppy will be as an adult. Some responsible breeders will also rescue (I list available rescue Hamiltonstovare on my site and we have fostered before), breeders will also have the knowledge of generations of dogs to explain why a puppy looks the way it does. I can look at Raven, Selene, Griffin and Henry and see elements of their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and beyond. Responsible breeders will make sure that you are obtaining the right animal for your needs and at the right time. Some people will say that it is impossible to obtain a dog from a responsible breeder or to contact one, but the key is email us detailed and thoughtful emails that show you have done research. I get LOTS of emails that say “I want one, when can I pick one up?” My waiting list is full of people who I have built up a relationship with, know what they want out of their next puppy and know when they are ready for their next puppy. Responsible breeders do not cater to impulse buys, they cater to people who have done their research on which breed is right for them and why. Responsible breeders support responsible pet ownership, responsible pet ownership does not cause animals to end up in shelters, impulse buys and catering to the irresponsible does.

Do your research, find the dog for you that fits you as it is your choice. Buy an animal that you know will suit your needs, no guilt trip needed.  

Why do my puppies cost so much?

The biggest issue that I get with people is why my puppies cost so much. I understand that people must think with their wallets a lot of the time but in terms of buying from a responsible breeder expect to pay at least $1,000 for a puppy regardless of quality or breed. Hamiltonstovare generally fall into 2 categories, one is imported and the other is native born. The imported Hamiltonstovare will ALWAYS cost more than the native born. A breeder in the UK or Sweden may charge between $1,000 to $2,000 for a puppy but that does not include the cost to get the dog to the states. Currently the average cost to bring a 14 week old (the youngest that they can legally travel) Hamiltonstovare is around $1,200 and the price goes up exponentially as the dog gets older. So if you want to budget for a 4-6 month old Hamiltonstovare to be brought over, plan on spending close to $5,000 with all of the various costs from the breeder, the shipping agency, the vet fees, microchip, flight crate (which will be different than their home crate), and any other thing you can think of.

This blog will focus on what and why native born Hamiltonstovare puppies that are AKC and UKC registered will always cost between $2,000 and $3,000 per puppy. My next litter will be $3,000 a puppy and the reason behind it is complex. The first thing that I must factor in the cost for AI (Artificial Insemination) is high, at the low estimates for shipping from Sweden and the insemination process is around $3,000. I am planning on doing a c-section for Alice as she needed an emergency c-section with her last litter and that is around $1,500 including the ultrasounds and x-rays leading up to the c-section. So already prior to the puppies being born the cost is close to $5,000. Thankfully, I already have a good whelping box and liner, however I am planning on implementing a few new changes to the whelping area that will cost about $100 to do.

The rough estimates to keep a litter of 4-5 puppies alive is around $100 a week. I keep my puppies for a minimum of 10 weeks so that they can have the maximum amount of socialization and human interaction possible. So that is $1,000 just to keep the puppies and the mother alive. That does not include any vaccinations, socialization trips, puppy evaluations, toys, etc.

According to my calculations to keep a litter of 4-5 puppies alive, socialized, with proper vet care from conception to new homes is close to $8,000. This again is not factoring in for the amount of money and time I spend on showing the mother to the level that she is at, nor does it factor in any health testing done on either parent. The sire of the litter has also been shown extensively in Europe, so that is not factored in at all. Also, a stud fee has not been factored in either as customarily it is either a fee or a puppy. So, lets put things into perspective, I am planning on keeping a puppy, the stud owner gets a puppy and there's only 2-3 puppies left to sell. With me charging $3,000 a puppy, that's a net loss of $2,000 for a litter of 4 and a possible slight profit of $1,000 for a litter of 5.

If I were to factor in things like cost of showing, import of the mother, care and maintenance of the mother then for a litter of 5, I'd be at a loss of over $5,000 at a conservative estimated minimum. The idea or concept that breeders make money with their puppies is just not true. If I wanted to make money from my puppy sales then I'd have to charge close to $6,000 a puppy at minimum and that just isn't fair. I do not believe in charging the same as horse for a dog. I also do not price differentiate between males, females or for quality. It costs the same amount of money to raise each puppy regardless of gender or quality. I do have various levels of contracts though that will stipulate how that puppy is to be raised and just because I charge $3,000, that does not mean that you can breed the dog at all or to anything. My pet quality contracts stipulate a spay/neuter to be done on the dog after the growth plates have closed by a licensed vet for males and after the first heat cycle and close of growth plates for females. My breeding/show/performance quality contracts strictly forbid spay/neuter unless it is medically necessary (ie pyometra, testicular torsion, cancer, etc.) however that decision must be made by a licensed veterinarian and I must be informed of the procedure by the owner with vet records proving the medical need for it. My breeding/show/performance quality contracts also stipulate that any breeding must be consulted by me prior to any breeding or agreements being made of any kind. I want to make sure that my line of Hamiltonstovare is known for being the very best and I want to ensure that going forward. I take these items very seriously and place financial penalties on these items on my contracts.

I understand that spending a lot of money up front for a puppy can be difficult but the school of thought at play here is that spending $3,000 up front now will actually save you money throughout the span of the dog's life. All of my puppies come with a 1 year health guarantee against any congenital issues, so throughout the first year of life all you have to pay for is the puppy price, well puppy vet costs and basic care/training.

I am going to explain next why it is so important to be willing to spend the money up front because if you don't, you could easily spend 10 times that if you are not careful. At the same time that I got Alice, a relative of mine got a backyard bred Golden Retriever who was already 18 months old. This dog did not come from health tested parents nor did it come from parents with any titles at all. This dog was also spayed way too young. As a result, this dog had to have multiple expensive surgeries, and unfortunately had to be put down due to an aggressive and preventable genetic disease. Her owners spent over $30,000 in the dog's lifetime in medical bills alone. To put that into perspective I have spent less than $10,000 in the lifetime of 6 dogs for medical bills spanning the same amount of time. This person had consulted with me prior to obtaining the dog and I advised them to go to a responsible breeder but they refused to pay the puppy price. So instead of paying $2,000 for a well bred puppy, they spent over $30,000 on a poorly bred dog only to have the dog live less than the breed's average lifespan.

So $3,000 for a healthy puppy or a lifetime of vet and/or training bills that will total far in excess of what any responsible breeder would ever charge? You decide.   

Importing and Exporting

As Hamiltonstovare are a rare breed in America, in order to bring in new blood into the gene pool, this breed relies on good imports. I have often said to my close friends that if I had more disposable income, I would bring at least 5-6 more dogs over from Sweden and Norway that are completely unrelated to my guys. I also wish I had more disposable income to bring in frozen semen from at least 4 dogs yearly. Unfortunately, that isn't the case. Currently, I'm doing the best that I can to bring over frozen semen from just one dog this year for a breeding later this year. 

To those interested in breeding this breed in America, I encourage you to import as many dogs as you possibly can. The import process is to bring dogs over from Europe for private ownership is relatively easy from a regulation standpoint. The key points that the dog needs to have is a rabies vaccine and valid health certificate from a licensed vet within that particular country. The main thing that I cannot stress enough about importing a dog is to make sure that ALL registration transfer information is done prior to import. That makes things go so very smoothly. In order for AKC FSS registration, the dog needs a three generation pedigree either by the country of origin (UK: KC pedigree, Sweden: SKK pedigree, Norway: NKK pedigree) or a 3 generation pedigree issued by the Hamiltonstovare Club of America, 2 3x5 photos (1 of the front including head and 1 of the dog in a side view), and a completed AKC FSS registration. The AKC FSS registration can be done prior to import as well. Hamiltonstovare can only be imported if they are old enough to receive their Rabies vaccine or 14 weeks old if they come from a rabies free country. 

The import process can be a stressful one but if you have a good breeder then things will be easy. In the UK, there are 2 options to bring a dog over, one is to fly over and travel with the dog on the return flight. This works well for young puppies and generally costs between $300-$500 extra to the plane ticket. The other option for the UK is to utilizing a shipping agent, this is done for dogs traveling alone and for dogs older than 6 months. When I brought Alice and Rolo over, I used a wonderful shipping agent called Ryslip. Ryslip is very familiar with the breed and can get things done in a stress-free and efficient manner. As I have never brought a dog over Sweden or Norway, I can only go off what others have told me. Those that have brought dogs over from Sweden or Norway either travel with the dog, use a shipping agent, or work directly with the airline. Working directly with the airline puts a lot of things up to chance as you have to get all of your paperwork in order alone. If you travel with the dog, some of the paperwork can be done prior to travel, such as the vet information and customs paperwork. 

The main concern that I've heard regarding import is the cost. Import is done by weight, so the smaller the dog, the cheaper the cost. The average for an import from any country is around $3,000 per dog. The difference between flying with the dog or going alone is about the same if you include the cost of your airline ticket. I did not include the cost of the dog from the breeder, in the UK it is about $1,000-$1,500 for the puppy cost. In Sweden and Norway the puppy cost starts around $700 and goes up from there. The safe budget is about $5,000 per dog with all expenses. Now for frozen semen, the average is around $2,000.

Export works generally the same way but care needs to be taken to follow that country's regulations. Currently by a ruling by the Hamiltonstovare Club of America, exporting to Australia is banned, any breeder that holds membership with the Hamiltonstovare Club of America and exports a dog to Australia will be banned from the Hamiltonstovare Club of America, if you are an international member and you export to Australia you will be banned as well and reported to your country's Hamiltonstovare parent club and kennel club. For more information regarding that ruling, contact me privately. 

As the breed is very rare in America all exports need to be taken very seriously. I generally will not export unless it is to send a puppy to a stud owner or to a show home where a breeder wants to start a breeding population in their country. 

Spay and Neuter

Conventional wisdom says that if you aren't going to breed your dog then spay or neuter it. It is also considered by most to be a responsible dog owner behavior to spay and neuter your dog. However, most responsible dog owners don't know that the very procedure that they think is responsible is actually causing harm, especially the younger the dog is. 

New research has shown that the benefits of spaying or neutering may not outweigh the harm that is being done in the long run. Hamiltonstovare were involved in a large study in Sweden regarding early spay and neuter. Early spay and neuter is a procedure done prior to the growth plates being closed, which in Hamiltonstovare is 18 months to 2 years of age. The study results were shocking. Those dogs that received an early spay/neuter were more prone to behavioral issues, bladder issues, growth issues, and cancer. 

Spaying does have a health benefit and it is the only way to prevent pyometra, which is a potentially lethal infection of the uterus. The risk for infection goes up as the dog ages. After Alice's last litter or when she is 8 and a half, whichever comes first, she will have an ovary sparing spay. The ovary sparing spay is a relatively new procedure and it allows the dog to get the benefits of the hormones but eliminate the risk of infection. This procedure will be done to all of my females after their breeding career is over. In Hamiltonstovare, a study was done and the adjusted percentage of the breed that may develop pyometra is roughly 1.2% with a 85-97% survival rate based on age. Pyometra can develop for a multitude of reasons but the theory is that it runs in lines and is also based on environmental factors as well. 

In my contracts, I strictly prohibit spaying and neutering for the pet quality dogs until the dog is 18 months old and gone through at least one heat cycle for the bitches, the dogs it is 18 months and certified by a veterinarian that the growth plates are closed. Puberty is a very important process that all dogs should go through, it allows their brain and body to fully mature and receive vital hormones for their developing body. Without those hormones, spayed and neutered dogs will grow larger than their intact littermates. This also weakens various tendons, ligaments, cartilage and even joint structures. A new study that was recently published theorizes that early spay and neuter may be a contributing factor for dogs developing hip displaysia. Another study showed that early spay and neuter greatly increase the risk for tendon ruptures in the knee. 

Several cancers are on the rise and several studies within Rottweilers and Golden Retrievers suggest that early spay and neuter can contribute to the cause of some cancers. The main cancers that seem to have a link between spay/neuter and development of those cancers are osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, and prostate cancer. Prostate cancer in particular seems to have the most direct link, conventional wisdom says that the risk should diminish but the exact opposite is true, the testosterone produced in the testes seems to slow down or inhibit tumor growth. 

Another adverse reaction to spay/neuter is behavioral. This is theorized in that the adult hormones required for brain development are never allowed to develop so behavioral problems can happen. Another issue is that hypothyroidism, obesity, and diabetes risk increases dramatically with spay/neuter regardless of age when the procedure is done. 

It has been advised that for those interested in performance sports such as agility, lure coursing, weight pull and many other activities to not spay or neuter unless medically necessary. In my most recent litter, not a single puppy has been spayed or neutered and I hope it stays that way for a very long time. I have even toyed with the idea of even allowing my pet quality dogs to be kept intact but have strict contract requirements that have massive financial penalties should breeding take place. Right now, I treat it on a case by case basis as I feel that keeping dogs intact is better for them. I prefer ovary sparing spays for older bitches because the hormones are kept but the risk for pyometra is eliminated. If a method is devised for vets to perform vasectomies, then I would be for that as well. 

For more information please see this compilation of many studies done by the NAIA:
http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/LongTermHealthEffectsOfSpayNeuterInDogs.pdf

Service Dog Highs and Lows

Service dogs are there to provide medical aide to their handlers. Sometimes that can be easier said than done. Alice is winding down her service dog career now that she recently hit 7 years old. Since 20111, Alice has been a remarkable help to me and made me more confident in being able to open up to people regarding my disability. When I was younger, I used to pretend that I was normal and that nothing was wrong with me, then when things would crop up it hurt worse. Now that I am older, accepting things head on instead of hiding from them tends to go over better. 

The high points are very easy to talk about because they happen every single day when Alice or Rolo are on duty. When Raven, goes out on training visits, she fills my heart with such joy that I know that she will fill her mother's footprints when the time comes. Alice has this ability to draw people in and get people to talk to me, this has allowed me to explain to people what she can do for me and how she helps me. Rolo exudes strength and power, his size and "Wal-Mart greeter" mentality really set myself and others at ease. Both dogs spring to action when needed and it is incredible to watch. 

As with anything, you have to take the good with the bad. I hate to say it but the bad things are always relating to the fact that I do not have a visible disability. The well-meaning people ask thoughtful questions, the rude people assume. I hear the snide comments like "that lady needs to give that dog to somebody that really needs him..." Whenever I get people that ask about getting a service dog for their disability, I warn them in that a service dog does not make you invisible, it makes you stick out and you have to constantly remember that they are a tool to help you and that's all that matters. The next stories I am going to tell are all bad and happened to me and I am sharing them as an example of when things go wrong. 

Fake service dogs are a hot button issue within the Service Dog Community and most people want to know how to spot them. Fake service dogs to me are easily spotted by the handler instead of the dog. A dog in training is different and the handler should be actively correcting the dog in case they do something wrong. My only encounter with a fake service dog happened while I was at a restaurant with my mother. Alice was in a tuck under my chair and out of the way, frankly she was nearly asleep as she knows that restaurants are places where she isn't needed that much. This fake service dog and its owner walked by us heading towards the restroom. The owner stopped, the dog kept on tugging and pulling, the owner did nothing, then the owner noticed Alice. Alice had barely lifted her head up but the owner of the fake service dog intentionally tried to get her dog to greet Alice with a statement of "Awwww say hello to the other doggie..." My comment to the owner was "Please do not disturb my dog as she is working." Thankfully a waiter came by and directed the owner away. My mother and I left shortly after. My story is mild but I know that it could have been worse. 

The next two incidents involve businesses and how they need to train their staff better. The first incident happened while I was at a Barnes and Noble in Chesterfield, Virginia. I had Rolo with me and he was performing a trained task, bracing me while I browsed for books on the shelf. I noticed that 2 employees seemed to always be around us. So when I stopped to look at the dog books section (I'm a nerd for dogs and love dog books), I sat down and had Rolo lay down in front of me, ready to help me get up if needed. Those two associates stood at the end of the aisle and talked about me, pointing and staring. I told my fiance what I heard and he heard them too. We promptly left, however I called the store to speak to a manager immediately after. To my surprise those whispering, staring and pointing were the General Manager and the Assistant General Manager. While a person was getting the General Manager on the phone, I heard the general manager say "Yes, we followed them because they weren't in a wheelchair and obviously faking..." When I heard that I let the manager know who denied it until I said that I heard her say it. I then took that complaint to corporate, who supposedly took care of it. I rarely go to that location again but if I have a service dog with me, I never go alone. I am glad that those people did that prior to my concussion which lead to me developing panic attacks, because if that had happened after my concussion it could have been a medical emergency. However, every time that I have gone back to that store since, I have never seen those two people there again.  . 

The last incident happened while we were traveling for an AKC Meet the Breeds event in New York. We were staying in New Jersey with the plan to drive to Manhattan every day for the event. I made the reservations months prior to stay at the Embassy Suites in Seacaucus, New Jersey, indicating that I was traveling with 2 service dogs and that were were part of a group for the AKC Meet the Breeds event. When we arrived, after spending nearly 6 hours on the road. The hotel put us in a room that was too small and not part of the group. We had no room to fit one dog, let alone 2. I complained to the front desk who put us in a room reserved for their Hilton Rewards members. As soon as the manger saw me put a dog in there, the phone rang in the room and I was being forced to move to a different room. This was after we got nearly everything unloaded from the car. I mentioned to the manger that you can't segregate service dogs and their handlers but they didn't listen. Within five minutes there was a bellhop at our room ready to move our stuff to the lobby while they got us another room. They then tried to put us in a room that was directly across from the elevators. When traveling with dogs, being by elevators is the last thing we needed as they would never settle down with the constant noise. After waiting in the lobby for another 30 minutes, we were moved to another room. We finally got to our fourth room and got everything unloaded close to 4 hours after our arrival. I was exhausted and furious. I contacted the Embassy Suites corporate office via phone, social media and email. They seemed apologetic at first until they admitted that it was company policy to segregate all animals regardless if they were service dogs or not. I sent them a copy of the federal regulations regarding service dogs and they then refused to answer any of my messages after that. I have never stayed at an Embassy Suites again and I actively tell anybody who will listen about how horrible they are. I also informed the American Kennel Club regarding how horrible they were to us and the AKC no longer works with Embassy Suites in Seacaucus, New Jersey for group rates. What Embassy Suites didn't know at the time was that Alice made history at that event and was part of the launch of a special new title called, the AKC Community Canine, also known as the CGCA. Even after all that happened to us and the hustle and bustle that Embassy Suites put us through, just 24 hours later, Alice passed her CGCA and became the 4th ever to earn the title in the history of the AKC. I never make complaints expecting to get anything but that trip was an absolute nightmare because of Embassy Suites. Even though that Embassy Suites violated the ADA, not once did they admit that they were wrong in any way. They never offered to make things right or concede that they needed to educate themselves on appropriate practices with service dogs. So to all those reading this, avoid Embassy Suites and their parent company, Hilton as they have shown blatant disregard for those with disabilities and the tools that those with disabilities use to make their lives whole. 

Alice earning her CGCA

Alice earning her CGCA

Hamiltonstovare and weather

It is unseasonably warm here in central Virginia and with that the Hamiltonstovare are unseasonably calmer than normal. Rolo went out on an adventure in Williamsburg to explore Colonial Williamsburg's Duke of Gloucester (DoG) Street and I was reminded that it is different how little these guys tolerate heat. While we were discussing with various people regarding the breed, I made sure to say that this breed does not tolerate heat well. Anything over 75F and my guys tend to be very slow moving and aren't as active. 

Hamiltonstovare, being a Swedish breed, prefer colder temperatures and adore the snow. When I have people interested in the breed but they live in a warmer climate, I ask them how do they plan to keep them cool. My guys get a kiddie pool during the summer and have access to various forms of cool temperatures. Hamiltonstovare are not a breed to be left outside, unsupervised ever. In terms of just weather, Hamiltonstovare overheat very quickly in the summer. I rarely show in the summer as their performance does drop. If I do show or do anything outside for a long period of time with my guys during warmer temperatures, I bring a cool towel and a spray bottle to keep them cool. 

Hamiltonstovare in the snow is truly a sight to be seen. They come alive and have a look of pure joy on their faces. The colder and deeper the snow, the better. It is such a stark contrast to summer behavior that I do tell people that are interested in the breed. My guys refuse to come inside when there is snow outside. Hamiltonstovare excel in every single snow activity possible including skijoring, weight pull/sledding, and just generally playing. Traditionally, Hamiltons hunt in the snow and have been developed to endure cold temperatures. 

If you don't like playing in the snow or even standing out in the snow then do not get a Hamiltonstovare if you live where there is snow. The moment a Hamilton is around snow, they will be in it for hours. Their coat and feet are specifically designed to thrive in the snow. They have a dense undercoat and a layer of outer guard hairs that insulate them from any moisture and melting snow. Hamiltonstovare look to float over snow because they have webbed feet and their paws act like snowshoes. Their nails are close to the paw pad to act like crampons in the snow and ice. Several breeds slow down naturally in the snow but Hamiltons speed up so good luck chasing one in the snow. 

As with any dog owner, Hamiltonstovare should keep in mind that the dog's safety comes first so if your Hamiltonstovare has been outside for more than 20 minutes and the temperature is above 75F, bring them in immediately. Hamiltonstovare owners do need to be mindful to keep their dogs on limits with the snow, they will not want to come inside but make them.